I’ve recently discovered that although the fabulous 1989 sculpture on the rooftop of the Winnipeg Art Gallery by Manasie Akpaliapik is called Inuksuk it really isn’t one. It is in fact a inunnguaq. What’s the difference?
According to the Canadian Encyclopedia inuksuks which have been found at sites that date from as long ago as 2400 BC, were formations of rocks used by people across the Arctic as markers for all kinds of purposes- navigational routes, good kayak landing spots, good hunting and fishing sites, locations of celebrations and caches of meat. These markers could be in many different formations.
Inunnguaq on the other hand were shaped like human beings and could venerate a person, mark a spot for people to meet, or have spiritual significance.
An article in the Toronto Globe and Mail discusses the use of the inuksuk or inukshuk on the flag of the Nunavut Territory and the way the inunnguaq was used as a symbol for the Canadian Olympics in 2010 but mistakenly called an inuksuk. Some people think inukshuks and inunnguaqs are important Inuit cultural symbols and should not be used for decoration or marketing. What do you think?
Tourists from around the world are building impromptu inukshuks all over the place in Canada’s national parks and conservation officers are removing them because they alter the natural landscape. Are the officers doing the right thing?
I’ve learned there are inunnguaqs mistakenly called inukshuks all over the world.